You better watch out. You better not cry. Better not pout, I’m telling you why…
Judging from a post I saw on Facebook Monday, those words from Santa Claus is Coming to Town are aimed at some modern parents.
I was scrolling down my news feed, when I saw a post calling for all parents to cease and desist on telling their kids about jolly Saint Nick. I disagree, but understand why some parents make that choice. I respect those who choose to keep Santa out of Christmas. The debate has endured since long before I was born. There is no right or wrong answer. Parents have to make that choice for themselves. It is an individual decision that should be made for the benefit of the family, but not as a cave to social justice bullies.
The clearly-annoyed Facebook user went on. She charged that parents should not tell their kids about Santa because it is too painful to explain why old Saint Nick gives extravagant gifts to some kids, while giving less extravagant gifts to others.
Now that struck a chord with me, for two reasons. First, I watched neighbor kids get gifts from the jolly old man that were well beyond what my parents could afford during my childhood. It made me wonder. But it did not scar me for life. The second reason that the post got my attention was because I was irritated by the gall of one parent lecturing others on how we should take a joyous part of Christmas out of our family traditions, for the convenience of other people. That’s a boundaries violation.
Life is not fair. Some people are poor; Some are rich. Some people are good; Some are evil. Some people work hard and never become rich; Others have the world handed to them on a silver platter. Some people have basic freedom; Most of the world does not. Marx preached societal salvation through the communist model. Political attempts to enforce so-called fairness always result in less opportunity for the masses, with increased riches for societal elites. This is also unfair. The parent who argued against Santa is entitled to his or her opinion. Lecturing the rest of us to change our traditions does not solve the issue. There are three reasons that the gift equality argument is hogwash.
First, being a parent is about doing the best for our kids. If every parent in the world told their kids that Santa does not exist, the gift dynamic would not change. Some would still get very little, while others get a lot. The same thing happens in every other form of celebration. Some kids get better birthday presents than others. We don’t halt birthday parties to make the world a fairer place.
Second, gift giving is not a social equality issue. Gifts are given as an expression of love. My mother grew up in extreme poverty. She remembers living in a rickety house with dirt floors. Mom remembers when one room was wired for electricity, so the family could have one working light in the entire house. She grew up using an outhouse. The only gifts she received for birthdays and Christmas were home-made by her mother. They were given with love. Belief, or disbelief, in Santa made no difference.
Third, taking Santa out of our traditions would not make life fair. It would take one thing that my children look forward to away from them. One day my kids will have to face the world. It will not be fair to them. Changing our Christmas traditions now will not make life treat my kids any better as adults.
The best thing that the frustrated Facebook author can do to truly help is to be Santa to someone in need. Adopt a struggling family for Christmas. Stop worrying about why another parent bought his or her kid an IPad. Worry about what you can do to help someone who has less than you. That is the power of giving. Selflessness helps everyone involved. The receiver is brought a little bit higher. The giver feels the joy that comes from being generous.
Life is not fair. Santa is not a communist. Merry Christmas!
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